Goa’s Mythological Tales of Yore

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Thousands of years ago the enchanted land of Goa was deeply submerged into the sea. How did it come into existence? How did life evolve in this beautiful state?

Goa’s origins are well rooted in its mythological history. As per the Skanda Purana and other Hindu Scriptures, Goa’s mysterious birth dates back to 12000 BC when the sage Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu was banished from the lands he had once conquered. He therefore waited for an opportunity to claim land for himself. He shot seven arrows from the Sahyadris to push back the Arabian Sea and create a stretch of land which he could acquire. The sea-god was forced to withdraw making way for the submerged land to resurface. And from within the sea in the western coast of India, Goa was born.

Parashurama then brought ten sages to settle on the newly acquired land. They performed rituals and Yagnas alongwith many other Fire Sacrifices. Seven of them were chosen and blessed by Lord Shiva. They were called ‘Saptarishis’ or ‘Saptakoteshwara’ which means ‘Seven Sages’.

As time passed by, Goa was christened with many other names like Gomanchala, Govem, Sindapur, Sandabur, Gopakapuri, Gopakapattam,  Gomantak, Aparantha, Mahassapatam,  Nelkinda and so on.

The foundation of Buddhism was laid in this region by Ashoka of Magadha. Between the second century BCE and the sixth century CE, the Bhojas of the Yadava clan of Gujarat and the Konkan Mauryas of the Kalachuris ruled the land. Later the Chalukyas of Badami took over the reins. From 753 onwards, the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed and Southern Silharas of Konkan were dominant. They were succeeded by the Kadambas, the Chalukyas of Kalyani who patronized Jainism in Goa.

The Delhi Sultanate took over the Goa governance in 1312 but had to later surrender to Harihara I of the Vijayanagara Empire. It was not long before the Vijayanagara Empire came crumbling down and in 1469 the Adil Shahis of Bijapur took a stronghold of the kingdom and established Velha Goa (or old Goa) as their auxiliary capital. Eventually they were defeated by their local ally Timayya alongwith the Portuguese. The Portuguese then ruled over the region for over 450 years until Goa was annexed into the Indian Union. In 1987, the Union Territory was split and Goa was declared a State while Daman & Diu continued to remain Union Territories.

This mysteriously evolved land has over the years attracted many influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries and is even today a treasure chest of natural beauty, spice gardens and rich culture. It is a destination of choice atop every traveler’s list from India and across the globe. Visit Goa to unearth its dynamic history and legends of the past.

Visit Goa to know it better and live it at best, stay at hotels in Calangute, the concierge service of Hard Rock Hotel in Goa is one of the best in town.

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Glam, Glitterati and Grandeur of Goa

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Goa is a melting pot of activities when it comes to entertainment at weddings. While the main ceremony along-with the rituals are celebrated with great pomp and grandeur, it’s the entertainment and performing acts that steal the show. From popular DJs, star performers, celebrities and peppy bands to ribbon dancers, belly dancers, fire dancers and illusionists, there are a lot of options to keep the wedding group engaged and entertained.

Weddings in Goa are occasions that people look forward to. Relatives and friends are flown in from different parts of the globe to be a part of the celebrations. The bride and groom ensure that their requirements right from travel to accommodation is taken care of till the last detail. Special dinners and themed parties are organized, along with city tours for the guests. Illuminated ‘wish’ lanterns are set off followed by a dazzling display of fireworks as a tribute to the couple.

Poolside brunches, relaxing spa treatments and other exciting group activities are some of the other offerings atop the wedding planners list. This is followed by a fun-filled evening with fire acts, snake charmers, folk dances and live music setting the right mood for the occasion. The wedding night comes alive with song, dance and merriment as the bride and groom celebrate their day in the company of friends and family.

Reviews of some top hotels of Goa

Reviews of Goa’s top hotels

Taj Exotica Goa – Benaulim – “A lot left to be desired !”

Before I begin my critical analysis, let me start by saying this is an excellent property and has everything that you need from a Five Star Hotel/Resort. My honest critical assessment follows.

I am a Taj Hotels fan and a Silver card Inner circle member too. Had heard a lot about the Exotica. But there are delivery issues from their side while satisfying the Indian clientele. Food for most part except the lunch on our day of check-out was below par. If I have to compare the spread with the Taj Holiday Village, they are miles away from being even close to what the Holiday Village has to offer. The food is bland and suits the foreigner taste buds, there are a lot of flies in Eugenia. I also didn’t understand the fascination with Bhindi as a vegetable served in various forms on all days of our stay. The dessert offering was average. However, the waiters were extremely helpful.

The bicycle facility offered is very innovative and we enjoyed it. They need to however take a look at the maintenance of the bicycles, they screech, they are hard to pedal, the seats keep moving etc etc.

I also found a lot of their staff sucking up to the foreigners while we were left to be served. A particular experience was during our check-in, just during this period another bald foreigner with a male companion was literally carried in on the head while we waited by the side and watched, they came later but were taken to the room first. We walked behind in another buggy. The same guests were attended to by the waiters for 100% of the time they were there for dinner, as if the man was a king and the waiter his private servant. This is what I never expected from a Taj Hotel.

I hope the management can tackle the issues. I don’t think I will visit the Exotica again. I would still give full marks to the Holiday Village. To sum up, I didn’t feel it was a value for money holiday. I expected much more for Rs.16000 a day.

 

Hard Rock Hotel – “Calangute’s right choice”

Loved it just for the location. It is music lover’s den. If you love to sing, play any of the instruments you have it all. You can pick a guitar and play as well in your room with all fixtures readymade. Poolside is cool with the humidified fans. Ideal for GOA (Goa Own Adda). It’s a different & definitely a recommendable hotel in Goa.

“Happily Forced to write this review.”

We had a wonderful stay at rock. The pool attendant was very helpful. The front desk staff was very cordial. There are no much activities besides Music events, Swimming pool, Gym, Spa & Salon inside the hotel, which can keep you busy all around the stay.

My husband is a regular gym visitor where they make him do 500 crunches. The gym instructor at rock managed to leave my husband panting for breath in just 6 mins. My husband loved the workout in the gym offered by the trainer.

The entire service was on time and spot on. The food was yummy and my friends truly enjoyed it. We will surely visit again.

 

Stonewater Eco Resort – “Nice place require attention”

It is a good property but not managed properly. Housekeeping is very bad. Our room was not at all clean. Food at the restaurant is horrible. Free Breakfast was good. The worst thing is there is no privacy. Transparent cream colour curtains are see through and anybody passing by can peep inside through plain glass windows and doors. Requested staff to replace these curtains with dark shades so that nobody can see inside. If above points will be taken care of, it will add value to the property.

 

Bougainvillea Guest House Goa – “Huge rooms and great staff ”

When we arrived in the standard room we thought there was a mistake as the size and the quality of the room amazed us. There is a little area with two chairs to relax and a big fridge with drinks before going to the actual room, which is huge! There s a little balcony too. The bathroom is also spacious and very clean. The only down side I found is that we can’t open the curtains due to the room being overlooked by the next building.

 

Acron Waterfront Resort – “Quaint little property, nice staff”

So you should know that this property is not exactly on the beach – you will get a sea view from some of the rooms though. You’ll have to take a short walk through a road that runs by the side of the resort to get to the beach. Having said that, the property itself is quite pleasantly set – there’s a stream (okay, fine lagoon – if you insist!) that flows right beside the property – which is essentially what most of the rooms are facing. Clean pool – that could be a little too small for your liking. I found it a little weird that most of the pool chairs and decks were set up so that we would be facing the stream with the ocean to my right and not visible, yet definitely audible.

I think the staff is ex-Taj/ITC so they’re of course, very courteous – address you by name. At some cases, I did find that the staff came up short – for example when they couldn’t do much to address the mosquito problem near the outdoor seating at the restaurant. Another one – I was a little miffed at the maître d’hôtel when I ordered what was clearly mentioned in the menu as “pasta with bread” and was served only pasta. When I highlighted this to them, we actually had a discussion on English Language where he was trying to convince me that the wording meant that “it is enjoyed best with bread which has to be ordered separately”. Ha ha – that was a fun conversation! 🙂

The limited number of rooms makes this place a great escape – especially if you’re looking for a quiet retreat. If you’re looking to get high on “the Goa life” you will find other stay options that are more bang for your buck!

Room Tip: Choose a ground floor room if you’re not too hung up on privacy – everything is literally a step…

San Joao Festival of Goa

We planned our trip to Goa around the festival of Sao-Jao. San Jao is celebrated on 24th June and during this time the newly wed son in laws are invited at their mother-in-laws home to celebrate with floral crowns, dance and feni. One of my friend was invited and we took the liberty to plan our trip to coincide with his visit.

During monsoon and if you like rain, Goa is a heaven and you can get a chance to capture the beauty of the lush green countryside.

We have visited Goa before and a lot of times, during Christmas and during off season as well. Trust me it is too crowded to enjoy with family or too sunny to enjoy on the beach. Goa can definitely promise you a sunburn. We enjoyed most in our trip during last week of June till mid July.

The best advantages are – you can travel cheap, very cheap during this season. We took a bus trip from Mumbai and stayed at Hard Rock Hotel in Calangute. Water sport and other adventure games that cost sky high would come cheaper, more than 50% during monsoon.